It took me years to come around to Blu-Ray. While everyone else in the world seemed to be like, “Holy shit, this high definition is raping my eyeballs!!!!” I was all, like, “Holy shit, this looks like a cheap soap opera.” I held out as long as I could but, sooner or later, I caved, bought a player, started converting my bad ass DVD collection into a bad ass Blu-Ray collection. And, somewhere in the years in between, I’ve come around to high definition. Sure, sometimes it makes things look ugly, but it’s generally bright and crisp. So I can dig it.
Now, what does this have to do with The Hobbit? Well, if you weren’t living under a fucking rock, you might have heard that Peter Jackson decided to film the film in 48 frame rate, which basically turns the movie into high definition. It’s not playing in high frame rate in all cities, but, if you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of film as an art, I highly recommend you search out this version of the film.
Wait, what? You want me to review the fucking movie? Look, if you don’t know what The Hobbit is going to be like, you’re a fucking idiot. But. Fine. Whatever. The Hobbit is long. People talk and walk. They eat a lot. Then they talk some more. Then They walk some more. Then a monster shows up and they fight before talking and walking again. It’s exactly the film you expect it to be. The nerds are gonna be like, “Holy fuck-balls, I can’t believe they so faithfully showed all these characters talking and walking.” And regular people will probably be like, “Damn it, this is SO boring! All they do is talk and walk!!!”
Here’s by biggest, harshest criticism for an, admittedly, well made film: I looked at my watch. Now, I know a lot of people complained about how long and boring Lord of The Rings was, that nothing much happened. I think those people are idiots. Lord of the Rings is lean, fun, and thrilling. I never ever looked at my watch during a Lord of the Rings movie. I noticed, almost throughout the entire film, how fucking long The Hobbit seemed. That’s it.
OK, so back to the real conversation: high frame rate!!! Boo ya, fuckers, I’m a film nerd!!! So we’re gonna talk about crazy ass new technology!
I hear a lot of people complaining about high frame rate the same way I complained about Blu-Ray. “It looks cheap and fake.” I can see where they’re coming from. Some scenes, the kitchen scene in Blibo’s house for example, just didn’t work in high definition. The dwarfs start throwing plates around and, if the picture weren’t so sharp, it might look cool. But because the picture is so perfect the CGI plates look fake, like they’re floating above everyone. It’s clear no character is actually throwing a plate.
Yet, sometimes it hauntingly effective. Gollum’s cave, hell Gollum himself, is touch-worthy-real. And I think that’s what it comes down to, why I’m willing to be cautiously optimistic about this new technology. It’s going to force filmmakers to create better effects. They can’t half ass it anymore. If The Amazing Spider-Man were shot with high frame rate, the lizard would have had to been more realistic. You can tell, almost shot by shot, where Peter Jackson dumped his money. He focused on Gollum, not plates. And, any director working with CGI, will have to up their game to match. They’ll lose every excuse to cut corners with shitty CGI. And, frankly, I think that’s a good thing.
So, there ya go, the technology has ways to go, but it’s worth checking out. It’s a different experience that you can either bemoan or embrace. But, which ever side you land on, on thing is certain, any director who films in high frame rate will have to be amazingly talented.
The Hobbit Grade: B+
High Frame Rate Grade: B-